Nothing to Fear, But Fear Itself

My best friend is petrified of spiders

Like, really, really afraid.

He once jumped into my arms like someone in a cartoon when a mouse appears.

I left a dish upside down on the living room floor once, and he didn’t touch it for a weekend in case I’d trapped a spider underneath it.

And yes, I did that on purpose.

The oddest thing about his phobia, though is that he ought to be afraid of daddy long legs. Which, as far as I’m concerned would be worse than a spider, because they are pretty much the same as spiders. But with WINGS.

Flying spiders. Just think about that for a moment.

But he’s not. Because they only have six legs – which is really interesting. What is it that makes him scared of spiders? Because it’s clearly not their size or general insect-like appearance.

Let’s face it, a bug with six legs isn’t much different to a bug with eight. So, it seems the thing that he doesn’t like about spiders, is that they’re spiders. Like they’ve personally offended him or something.

It’s just the very idea of a spider that he doesn’t like. Presumably something bad happened with a spider in the distant past which makes him scared, rather than the physical presence of a spider.

Which brings me to what I’m scared of.

You have to understand that what scares me stems from two very traumatic incidents which occurred fairly closely together. I’m not scared of either event happening again, but I was scared enough at the time to still make me look back and shudder a little bit.

Moment 1: Tyrannosaurus Rex bursts out and roars at Jeff Goldblum

Moment 2: Ursula comes out of her underwater lair surrounded by eels

I’ve truly never been able to bring myself to watch either Jurassic Park or The Little Mermaid ever again.

I will not be scared by them now (probably) – but the fear in those moments has led me to be conditioned never to watch them again.

So, when we’re frightened – what are we truly frightened of? A scary thing, or simply our own past?

Prompt: The things you’re most afraid of

Seeking Immortality

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a writer when I grow up – apart from a brief period when I wanted to be car salesman, because I thought you got to keep all the money from each sale, and therefore, why wouldn’t you want to sell cars for a living? You could sell one, and then take a couple of months off. Seemed relatively simple to me. And I purposefully said when I grow up, because I can assure you, at 26, I’m nowhere near grown up yet. Although I’m old enough to have had to double check how old I was.

Asking myself now why I want to do that, though, it’s tricky to think of the answer. It’s been a part of me for so long, it’s like asking would I prefer to be called Alex, or Sebastian.

I’ve always liked the name Sebastian, and I think if I met a bloke called Sebastian, I’d probably be instantly attracted (and then start singing ‘Under The Sea’ at him) – but it’s not me. It’s not who I am.

Being a writer, wanting to write, is as much a part of me as my name is.

I remember thinking quite a while ago, that the reason I wanted to be writer was so that I could leave my mark on this world. You see it a lot in futuristic TV shows and films where Captain Picard is reading Shakespeare, and I think, how phenomenal would that be? To do something so brilliant, to achieve something so amazing that people are still talking about it eight hundred, nine hundred years later?

It’s the closest thing to immortality we have.

I find it hard to believe, though, that five year old me was concerned with such things, so there must have been something else.

I love language, I love the structure of language, and the composition of stories. There are famously, only seven basic plots, but look at how language can be used to tell these same stories over and over again in so many different ways, and still feel fresh and engaging. But I think this love of language, again has developed over time, it’s not origin of my love of writing, it’s a side effect.

All I can really put it down to is that growing up and reading Matilda, Scribble Boy and Mercedes Ice was fun. It was fun to read these books, and I soon learnt, it was fun to tell people stories.

A well put together story can give pleasure to so many different people, and the storyteller, gets a pleasure from seeing people enjoy their words.

That’s why I want to be a writer. That’s why I am a writer. It’s fun.